Drones to help with investigations in Houston County

HOUSTON COUNTY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - The Houston County Sheriff's Office has new technology to help with investigations from a bird's eye view. The sheriff's office unveiled new drones Friday.

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HOUSTON COUNTY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Houston County Sheriff’s Office has new technology to help with investigations from a bird’s eye view. The sheriff’s office unveiled new drones Friday.

From chases to active shooters, new technology in the sky is changing the way Houston County deputies do their job.

Retired fireman and owner of Drones of Prey, Jamie Hamlin, helped the Sheriff’s Department get their drone operation started.

“From a measuring standpoint, you can actually get a better idea of how things transpired out as a opposed to screenshot by screenshot a normal camera would have,” Sergeant Darron Jones, with the Houston County Sheriff’s Department, said.

The drones will help the department in many ways.

“The missing persons and elderly we have walking away from homes and how long it took us to actually locate them by walking around in the neighborhood, driving around in the neighborhood. This will save [us] a lot of man power and cover a lot more area,” he said.

First, Hamlin had to help the Sheriff’s Department get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

“Warner Robins is a very unique situation because of the fact that the Air Force Base is so close. Literally within the city limits. So there had to be an agreement between the commander at the air base and the sheriff in order to allow that,” Hamlin said.

The drones will now allow deputies to have an eye in the sky to help with missing persons, fleeing suspects or active shooter situations.

“You’re risking electronics and not an actual person,” Hamlin said.

The Houston County Sheriff’s Department used the drones for the first time during the homicide investigation in Bonaire last month.

Sergeant Jones says drones will save tax payers money too. He said it costs $20,000 to fuel air crafts, versus the $10,000 they paid for the drones.

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Tanya comes all the way from Chicago, Illinois. She’s a city girl that’s excited to be a part of Middle Georgia’s community and tell your stories! She received a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia College Chicago. She also spent a few semesters studying at San Diego State University. While in college, she interviewed Joan Rivers before she passed away, was on the red carpet for the movie premiere of “Chiraq” and also interned with ABC7’s investigative reporters and Bill Kurtis. Tanya spent nearly 2 years reporting in Billings, Montana where she covered a lot of politics and agriculture. In her spare time, Tanya is a sports fanatic, so even though the Chicago Bears and Bulls didn’t know how to win this season, she still roots for them. You can guarantee you’ll run into her at the gym every day. If you do, stop by and say hi! Share your stories with her and don’t be surprised if she’s hiding chocolate chip cookies in her gym bag.